Academic Article Summary (Perceptions of Racism and Illusions of Equity)

by Anthony Amyot on November 13, 2016 - 11:35pm

Summary

Linda’s study (2006) investigated in the relationship between white privilege and equity in the workplace. In other words, how race impacts the career success of women. First of all, the purpose of the study was to address an aspect of gender and work that is not addressed so often. Basically, to better understand how black and white managers perceive the influence of racism in the workplace. Plus, the study puts an emphasis on white privilege in the workplace. In the introduction, Linda explains that her hypothesis is that white privilege and racial identity influences perception of workplace equity (and career equity). In other words, that white individuals (women) have an advantage over black individuals in the workplace. Besides, for this study, the method used was a survey. The qualitative work employed a grounded theory approach including ethnographic interviews and focus groups with Black women professionals to address their life and work experiences. All of the participants including Black and White women were members of two professional organizations for women. Furthermore, both groups were from a nationwide membership base in the US. Secondly, here are the main results the author found. The first main finding is that very few of the participants have admitted being racist. Actually, the percentage is very high in both groups for affirming not being racist. Then, most of Black women (68.9%) agreed that most white do not see racism in our society. On the other side, only 41.8% of white women agreed, and that shows how Black women see the issue differently. Plus, 72% of Black respondents affirmed that they noticed institutional racism in their organization (only 14% of white did). In addition, 71% of Black respondents affirmed they felt like someone’s race affect their success in the workplace while only 33% of White women agreed. Another very interesting fact the study came with, is that 82% of Black women agreed that women of colour work harder than white women. Again, the results show that Black women strongly believe in white privilege, and White women are not fully aware of it (15% of White participants agreed that Black women work harder). On the other hand, 83% of Black women disagreed that White women work harder than women of colour. In conclusion, a majority of Black respondents have noticed racism and its effects while many White respondents were not even fully aware of racism or its implications. White women did see aversive racism among society (workplace), but were not so aware of inequities in their own attitudes and behaviours. Moreover, the results of white women showed a disapproval of white privilege through the illusion of equity, which proves an intellectual grasp of racial issues. Finally, organizational systems assume that gender bias is the main problem than women at work are facing, and deny the impact of racism on workplace opportunities (career success).

 

Response

After having analyzed this study, I can say that it shows very interesting results on white privilege. Actually, both White, and Black women know that racism is part of society, but they have a very different view of it. In this study, there is the proof that Black women feel like they have to work harder to succeed, and that it is a cause of white privilege. Furthermore, I think that the questions given in the survey were well structured, and well chosen. In consequence, it gave very significant results which confirm the original hypothesis. If I look at the definition of racism, which we saw in class, it is a system in which one group of people has power over another group, and because of its skin colour or other physical traits. The link we can make with the study is that white people have an advantage (power) over people of colour in the workplace, and life (success) in general. On the other side, I think the study should have included participants from Europe, and Canada too, instead of only having people from the US. I am pretty sure that the results would have been quite similar, but it still would have been interesting to include them. Also, I think that it would have made the whole study even more complete. Finally, I think that the same (or very similar) study should be made with male participants to see if they think the same. It would give a different approach to the issue since this study was also addressing the gender inequalities (male advantages).

 

 

 

 

 

 

References 

 

 

Hite, L. M. (2006). Perceptions of racism and illusions of equity. Women in Management Review, 21(3), 211-223. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09649420610657399

 

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Nouvet, A. (2016). The Myth of Race and the Reality of Racism(PowerPoint slides). Retrieved November 7th, 2016 from Champlain College Saint-Lambert

Comments

This post caught my attention because I believe it's a topic that needs to be acknowledged. This reminds me of the the Glass Ceiling Effect which is an unofficial barrier that prevents women and minorities from advancing simply because they are women or minorities. I'm not surprised some white women don't realize racism is still around in society especially in the work force and in the 21st century. In the main stream media it shows that a lot of minorities have broken through and have become very successful especially in pop culture which would lead many people to believe that racism in the the work force is not really as relevant, but many don't realize that it's still around. If just white woman alone don't make as much as men salary wise every year, for the same amount and type of work, then minority women would probably make even less. Minority women have to work harder just to be as successful because of the glass ceiling effect.

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